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When Paul was in Ephesus, God did extraordinary miracles through him.  The Lord’s name became revered and held in high honor in the city and province of Asia.

Because of this, “Many of those who believed came and openly confessed their evil deeds.  A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.  When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas (137 year’s wages or 50,000 day’s wages…aka…a lot).  In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.” // Acts 19:18-20

What are the things in our lives that we need to ‘burn’? Maybe they are physical things. Maybe we need to literally burn them or perhaps we need to just give them away.

What are the things that are getting between us and Christ? What are the idolatrous things we are holding on to?

The people in Ephesus had an immediate reaction. Those that came to believe sacrificed their scrolls which were very valuable.  If you make $30,000 a year, it would be like throwing away $4.1 million.  That’s a lot.  But to the Ephesians, they became new people and the cost of sacrificing their old life was nothing compared to the gains of their new life.

Are we holding onto bits of our old life or are we laying it all down to gain from the reward of our new life in following Christ?

“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”  //Acts 5:38-39

First off, this guy Gamaliel is bringing the Word. He talks about all these other movements that failed when their leader died and that if this Jesus movement is merely from man, it will fail…BUT, if it’s from God, don’t get in the way. You’ll only be fighting against God.  I don’t know about you, but when I fight against God, I always lose.

What are ways in which you may be fighting against God or trying to get in the way of the furthering of the Gospel? Maybe we’re not purposefully getting in the way, but are the actions we taking getting inbetween us and God or others and Jesus Christ?

ch. 8 v. 15
“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

This is definitely a good reminder for everyone. We should not allow the ways of this world allow us to grow. War, greed, cynicism, legality, and hate should not be the catalyst of our growth. The influence of our national government (Ceasar’s/ Obama’s (?) empire) and our church (not Church) government (Pharisee/ church lady empire) should not preclude positive and worthwhile growth in Christ.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” //mark 13:31

This verse reminds me how important Scripture is.  Everything in this life will pass away, but God’s word remains.

A nice kick in the butt to be more in the Word.

Man, It was good to get back into the Word. I think we forget how much the gospel can penetrate our lives if we open up the Bible and let it soak into our bones. This past week I had the opportunity to share with a “friend” that Jesus said that it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick. (Mark 2:17). He told me that he was quite the sinner and that church would not let him in. My quick rebuttal was that the more sin you have the more you need Jesus. More sin, more attendance in church. More sin, more time in prayer. More sin, more worshipping God. More sin, more reading scripture. I will have minimal contact with this person going forward but I want to pray for him and introduce him to Jesus if I can. Jesus is a cool guy. I think they’d get along.

Jesus said in Mark 3:34, “Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” My question to myself is, am I a good brother? This is the nice way to ask, am I doing God’s will? I do not want to think that I already got my ticket to the dance (heaven) and now I can relax. I recently heard that 95% of church-goers will never lead another to Christ. Sad…

What are you guys’ thoughts on demons? Jesus is doing all sorts of exorcisms in these first few chapters.

Are there still demons possessing humans?

Has Satan stopped using this method all together?

Were they never demons, but were physical or mental health ailments? (not to cheapen Jesus’ ability to heal)

Go.

ch. 4 v. 18-19

Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

I’m not sure that I’ve ever read that verse properly. I always looked as the seeds of the first and second examples as leading to the same end – death. That’s not the whole pictures. The end result must be fruitfulness, which only the third example leads to. The issue of the second one is not the roots. It has the strong base that the first one lacked, but it lacks the ability to produce fruit like the third.

I’m always so critical of my parents garden. When I was growing up, they had a gorgeous garden that snaked around our 1 acre. Day lilies, herbs, trees, shrubs, everything. But over the past 20ish years, the flowers have been replaced with tall grass that my dad mows over. The plants are still there, but the lily blooms are missing.

It might be time for some weeding.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” //mark 6:31

Summer is approaching and what better time to live out this verse.  It’s easy to get caught up in work, family life, updating your FourSquare & Twitter, etc…but, Jesus invites us to join him alone and get some rest.

He isn’t talking about a cat-nap. He’s referring to the deep, spiritual rest and refreshment that can come only through being alone with him.

When’s the last time we were alone with Jesus?

Maybe it’s time to head to the woods.  Breez, let’s climb that mountain.

“For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter.” //ecclesiastes 8:6

A good reminder that there is an order to things. Too often our generation tries to rush things. We want what our parents have worked 20 years for right now. Spiritually, we want to be like Rob Bell right now. We want that issue or sin that we struggle with to be done and gone 10 minutes ago.

But be reminded, there is a proper time and procedure for every matter. Let’s enjoy the order God intended 🙂

“I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap…” -Ecclesiastes 7:26